New Delhi: A law which ensures protection of working women against sexual harassment at work places will soon be a reality. Parliament has passed a Bill to protect women against sexual harassment and for the first time domestic helpers and women who work in unorganised sector will come under it purview. The law will also cover those institutions and establishments which employ less than 10 employees and don't come within the Services Act.
According to the Bill all establishments must set up an internal grievances committee which should have at least 10 members while it should be a five-member body where there are less than 10 employees. If the establishments don't set up the committee according to the rules, then they can be fined up to Rs 50,000. If the law is violated repeatedly then the fine can be increased and the registration of the establishment can also be canceled.
The government has claimed that those sexual offence cases, which were not being reported, will also come out in the open following the enactment of the law. According to the Bill, which was introduced in 2010, the definition of sexual harassment has been widened to include vulgar behaviour, sexual assault, physical assault, force someone to enter into physical relations or demand physical relation in lieu of job. Even showing porn videos and clips has been made illegal.
Moreover, action could be taken against those women who filed false sexual complaint to trap anyone or given false evidence.
Meanwhile, Left Front and some women organisations are not in agreement with the some provision of the Bill. The women organisations have raised objections over the provisions to not include the agriculture sector and to keep the defence forces outside its purview. Some women MPs said that there was a lot of difference between making a law and enforcing it. BJP MP Najma Heptullah said that there are 48 laws to protect women, but they were not being implemented properly.
Now the Bill will be sent to President Pranab Mukherjee for his assent.